It looks like President Joe Biden didn’t get the memo about the Democratic Party in 2022.
As he spoke at a factory in Hamilton, Ohio, on Friday, the president warmly recounted his personal relationships with segregationists during his time in the Senate.
Biden began by talking about outgoing Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, whom he thanked for “bringing folks together to find common ground.”
“You know, things have kind of changed since the days when I first got there. … I got elected when I was 29 years old to the United States Senate from a very modest background, and I was there for 36 years before becoming vice president,” the Democrat said.
“We always used to fight like hell and, even back in the old days when we had real segregationists — like Eastland and Thurmond and all those guys — but at least we’d end up eating lunch together.
“Things have changed. We’ve got to bring it back.”
Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina campaigned on and supported segregation as Democrats in the mid-20th century. Thurmond switched parties in 1964.
Biden spoke with a forlorn tone when referencing the political era, perhaps pining for the practices of the time.
He’s spoken favorably of his friendships with Thurmond and Eastland before, drawing criticism from progressives during the 2020 primary.
Biden boasted of his “strong affection” for Thurmond in a 1993 speech, even going on to positively reference Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in a nod toward the “son of the South.”
1993. Joe Biden praises Robert E. Lee and Strom Thurmond. pic.twitter.com/gxrEWQuT1S
— Maze (@mazemoore) May 3, 2022
Only a handful of senators have remained in Congress long enough to have served with the segregationists of the 1960s.
Thurmond, who retired from the Senate in 2003 at age 99, was the last member of the chamber who originally staked his politics on Jim Crow segregation.
The senator minimized his support of segregation without fully renouncing it during his later career.
The Dixiecrat fathered a child with a black woman out of wedlock, covering it up while advertising his support of segregation to his political supporters.
During his speech Friday, Biden pawned blame for the poor state of the U.S economy on the coronavirus and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, repeating an excuse his administration has grown accustomed to using.
Biden pushes for more manufacturing in the United States:
“Because of the pandemic and the economic crisis we inherited and Putin’s war in Ukraine, have all shown the vulnerability when we become too reliant on things made overseas.”pic.twitter.com/vmU1TrMDQo
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 6, 2022
The president also briefly appeared to be confused and disoriented, asking his handlers where he was to be moved next.
BIDEN, very confused: “Where am I heading?” pic.twitter.com/nNqY3jnddA
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 6, 2022
Biden himself is descended from American slave owners, an inconvenient historical reality largely ignored by a Democratic Party known for a fanatical commitment to identity politics and historical grievances.